By Pamela Mason (auth.)
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Additional resources for Much Ado about Nothing: Text and Performance
Melted into curtsies' and affirms his maturity which contrasts starkly with the present attitude of Claudio, whom he terms 'Lord Lackbeard'. Benedick's seriousness is eventually 32 5 THE MILITARY ETHIC recognised in terms of wonder by both Don Pedro ('He is in earnest') and Claudio ('In most profound earnest'). Borachio's generous confession does not relieve Don Pedro and Claudio of guilt. Indeed Leonato firmly identifies them as the culprits, terming them ironically as a 'pair of honourable men' and only detailing Don John as the third who 'had a hand in it'.
V iv 40-2) In an attempt to erase the recollection of their previous exchange, Claudio once again repeats the tired joke about the 'savage bull' as he seeks to ridicule Benedick in love. Once more, mention of marriage is accompanied by a predictable innuendo of cuckolding: I think he thinks upon the savage bull. Tush, fear not, man; we'll tip thy horns with gold, And all Europa shall rejoice at thee, As once Europa did at lusty Jove, When he would play the noble beast in love. (V iv 43-7) Benedick's reply illustrates that previous events cannot be so rapidly forgotten.
The play survived Restoration adaptation, including Davenant's The Law Against Lovers (1662) which yoked elements of Much Ado with parts of Measure for Measure. For the Royal Shakespeare Company it has been 'a talisman they might well treasure for they have never been known to go wrong with it' (Spectator, 17 April 1976). Since the play was chosen to open the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in 1879 with Helen Faucit and Barry Jackson there have been some forty productions at Stratford. Beatrice has attracted actresses through the ages: Ellen Terry paid tribute to the continual challenge of the role: 'I have played Beatrice hundreds of times, but not once as I know she ought to be played' (Ellen Terry, Four Lectures on Shakespeare, p.